Saturday, December 15, 2012

Chocolate Vanilla Buche de Noel

Another Christmas, another Buche de Noel, or Yule log.
This year I have mixed a couple of past recipes, improved on the buttercream, and well...it was pretty good!




Chocolate Vanilla Buche de Noel

Serves 12

For the cake:
6 large eggs
1/4 tsp cream of Tartar
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder + 1 Tbsp

Vanilla buttercream:
5 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
1/3 cup water
1 lb butter, cut into cubes, room temperature


Chocolate ganache:

8 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
300 g heavy cream (1 1/4 cup)
50 g butter (1/2 stick)
5 cl liqueur (your choice!) - I used Scotch for this recipe




Prepare the vanilla buttercream:

Combine the egg whites and 1/3 cup of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk. Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean - you can keep the empty bean in your sugar container. The sugar will take in the flavor for your next dessert recipe!

Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil until a candy thermometer reaches 238F to 240F, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and use within 2 minutes.

While the sugar is getting to desired temperature, whisk the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. the mixture will be slightly opaque.

Increase the mixer speed to high and slowly pour in the hot syrup down the sides of the bowl and beat until meringue forms stiff peaks. Let cool to 100F. Do not beat.

Start beating meringue again on medium speed and add the butter, gradually. Make sure butter gets incorporated completely before adding more pieces.

Continue beating until smooth.
If the buttercream gets curdly or appears broken, reheat slightly and beat again).



Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 15x10x1 - inch jelly roll pan, or a cookie sheet. Line the bottom with parchment paper, allowing a 1-inch overhang on the short sides. Butter and flour the paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the Cream of Tartar and whisk until soft peaks form. Add 6 Tbsp of sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with 1/3 cup cocoa powder and the remaining 6 Tbsp of sugar until thick, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 of the egg whites to lighten the batter. Fold in the remaining whites. Gently spread the batter in the prepared pan.

Bake the Genoise until the cake springs back when you press the center, about 15 minutes. Transfer pan the rack and let cool completely.

Unmold on a slightly humid kitchen towel. Peel off the parchment paper.
Sift remaining cocoa powder over the cake and roll tightly, lenghtwise. Set aside.



Now prepare the ganache:

In a medium heavy saucepan, heat the cream. Add the chocolate, butter and liqueur. Whisk and remove from the stove. Let cool, whisking regularly. The chocolate mixture should thicken, but not become too hard. 




Assemble the Yule Log:

Unroll the cake and dust with cocoa powder. Spread the vanilla buttercream evenly on the cake and, using the towel as an aid, roll the cake lengthwise (this time the towel should not be inside the cake!!).
When rolled, cut about 2 1/2 inches off both sides, diagonally, and place one piece on top of the cake, slanted side down, and the other on the side, slanted side against the main body of the cake. This should look like a wood log!

Spread the ganache on the cake, in an irregular fashion, and decorate with meringue mushrooms and other Christmas decorations.


Note:
For the buttercream, if the meringue has not cooled enough, the cream will become runny. Place the bowl on a bag of ice cubes and whisk; it should regain proper consistency.

Note2:
It is a good idea if you like the biscuit a little more moist to brush it with an aromatic syrup (sugar and water and a liquor) before spreading the filling.


Pumpkin Apple Muffins

Fall calls for pumpkins! Everyone has a great pumpkin pie recipe... What else can we do with pumpkin, besides carving it? Try these muffins! They are great, and kids love it too!





Pumpkin Apple Muffins


Makes 12 muffins



4 apples (Honeycrisp or Granny Smith), diced small
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 bag fresh cranberries

1 1/2 cup (200g) flour (I used white whole wheat)
1/2 cup (75 g) brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (120g) room temperature
1/2 15-oz can pureed pumpkin (75g)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp pumkin spices (I mixed nutmeg, cinnamon and ground clove)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder (optional)
2 large eggs


Mix together the apples, cranberries, sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

Line the muffin pan with paper cups and spray with baking oil.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Combine the flour, brown sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer set with the whisk. Beat until mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside 2/3 cup of this mixture for the topping.

Add the pumpkin, sour cream, sugar, spices, baking soda and baking powder (optional) to the remaining flour mixture and beat until smooth. Add the eggs and beat until well incorporated.
Add to the apple cranberries bowl and mix to incorporate the fruits evenly.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan. Sprinkle with the reserved topping and bake for 25 minutes, checking after 20 minutes with a toothpick.

Remove from the oven and let cool and enjoy!

You can freeze in zip loc bags. Remove from bag and microwave for 1 minute.







Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pork Roast with Carrots and Potatoes

Season changes....Menu changes!!! As the leaves keep coming down, so do the temperatures. Nothing warms up the house like an oven full of a promising dinner!
This one is easy and quick to prepare. Then just let it do its magic in the oven.






Pork Roast with Carrots and Potatoes



Serves 5



One 4lb-bone in pork roast (make sure it has at least 5 chops)
3 lbs potatoes, washed and cut into 1-in pieces
6 carrots, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
6 garlic cloves
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp Herbes de Provence + 1 tsp for the roast
Salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 450F.

Make a few incisions in the roast and insert slices of garlic in the cuts.
Salt and pepper the roast evenly all over.
Set aside.

Place the potatoes and carrots in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and the Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Transfer to baking dish.

Place the pork roast on top of the vegetables (fat cap up), sprinkle with the remaining 1 tsp Herbes de Provence.

 Bake at 450F for about 15 to 20 minutes, until top of the roast is slightly golden.

Reduce the oven to 350F and cook for another hour, or until the internal temperature by the bones reaches 160F for medium, or 165F for well done.


Serve and Bon Appetit!!!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Chicken Piccata

This dish is usually made with veal, but thinly cut chicken breast works really well, and is a lot easier on your wallet!!!




Chicken Piccata


Serves 6


8 thinly sliced chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup white wine
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
Fresh thyme, or lemon thyme if you can find it
1 lemon, sliced thin


Prepare the chicken:
Pound the chicken breasts until about 1/4-in thick. Flour each lightly and set aside on a board.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. Working in batches, add the chicken cutlets and cook about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a sheet pan and place in the oven, on 230F to keep warm. Repeat until all the chicken is cooked.

Deglaze the sugars in the pan with the wine. Add the garlic, the thyme and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the lemon slices and reduce the sauce for 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, pour the sauce on top and serve with rice.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chocolate Muffins

Back to baking! And the theme seems to be...muffins! I love them for snack, for breakfast...anytime! And best of all, they freeze really well and reheat in the microwave so easily. Perfect treat!



Chocolate Muffins


Makes 18



3/4 cup (100g) flour (I used white whole wheat)
1/4 cup (35g) brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter (60) room temperature

1 cup chocolate chips (Guidar dark chocolate)

3 cups White whole wheat flour (480g)
1 cup cake flour (120g)
1 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup butter (120g)
1 1/3 cup sugar (150g)
6 large eggs
2 3/4 cup sour cream
3 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 400F.

Streusel:
Combine the flour, brown sugar cinnamon and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer set with the whisk. Beat until mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside.


Spray 2 muffin pans with baking oil and set aside.


In a large bowl, mix the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream and heavy cream. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, in 3 increments, alternating with the sour cream. Beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans, using a 2-oz ice cream scoop.

Top with the Streusel and the chocolate chips.

Lower the oven to 350 and bake for 15 minutes. checking with a toothpick. Remove from the oven and let cool before unmolding.




Bon Appetit!!


These muffins freeze really well. To reheat, place frozen muffin in microwave and heat for 30 seconds.






Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lemon Cakes

 We had a bake sale at the restaurant last weekend, and I tried a new recipe I had found in a Whole Living magazine. I modified it a bit and it was truly delicious!





Lemon cakes


Makes 8 small loaves or one large one



Cake:
1 cup olive oil
2 cups flour
1 cup almond flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 cup Greek yogurt
Zest of 2 lemons
1 tbsp vanilla extract, or one vanilla bean, scraped

Topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Greek yogurt



Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Oil and flour the baking pans and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and the eggs until well blended.
Add the oil, the yogurt, lemon zest and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Do not over mix.

Pour into prepared pans and bake for 25 minutes., until a tester comes out clean.
Let cool.


Topping:

Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan.
Add the lemon slices, in batches so the saucepan does not get over crowded. Cook until rind gets translucent, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Keep the syrup.

Reheat the syrup a little and add the olive oil and yogurt. Mix well.
Add a little water if too thick.

Unmold the cakes and spoon the syrup over the top. Decorate with the candied lemon slices and enjoy!!



Notes:
If you make one loaf, bake for 40 minutes.







Friday, October 19, 2012

Cranberry Apple Bread

Julie came home for Columbus Weekend, and she wanted baked goods to bring back to Amherst! This recipe is inspired by Martha Stewart.



Cranberry Apple Bread


1 loaf



4 Tbsp butter, melted
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
12 oz fresh cranberries (1 bag)
2 apples (honey crisp), peeled, cored and diced



Preheat the oven to 350F.
Butter and flour a loaf pan.

In a large bowl, mix together- with a whisk -  the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix the melted butter, egg and milk. Add the dry ingredients. Fold in the cranberries and apples.

Pour the batter in the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle the top with brown or Turbinado sugar (optional).


Bake for about one hour, or until a tester comes out clean.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookies

As most of you now know, I work as Manager at the Mashpee 99 Restaurant. I love it and despite the long hours, I have fun doing it. This month, the 99 Restaurants are raising money for the Boys and Girls clubs around the North East and my participation is in the form of a bake sale! Of course!!!
Time to try new recipes and this one is a keeper!!!!!






Decadent Chocolate Chips Cookies




20 cookies




1 lb (450 g) bittersweet chocolate
4 Tbsp (60g) butter
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1/2 cup (80 g) flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
12 oz extra dark chocolate chips

In a medium saucepan, over very low heat (or over a pot of simmering water), melt the butter and chocolate. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk, beat the eggs and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and salt.

In another bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder.

Fold in the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula, taking care not to deflate the batter. Add the dry ingredients also without deflating the batter. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour the batter in a shallow dish. Freeze for about one hour.

With a 2-oz ice cream scoop, scoop the cookies on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 13 to 15 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cranberry Nut Bread

I love Cranberries and could eat them year round. This recipe, inspired from an old issue of Gourmet magazine, is easy and you can have this bread anytime. I love it at breakfast, with a bit of salted butter!
I don't even bother with the one-loaf recipe... !




Cranberry Nut Bread



2 loaves


3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
8 oz butter, cold, diced
zest of 2 oranges
1 1/2 cup orange juice
3 large eggs
2 cups cranberries, half of them chopped
1 cup chopped walnuts


Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour 2 loaf pans.

In a food processor, pulse together the flours, sugar, baking powder and baking soda and salt. Add the butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the zest, orange juice and the eggs. Add to the flour/butter bowl and stir until just blended. Stir in the cranberries and the walnuts and transfer to the prepared loaf pans and bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool and slice!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pancetta Wrapped Pork Tenderloins

Pork is a very versatile meat and usually easy to prepare. It does have the reputation of being dry, really dry!! If that was true many years ago, times have changed, and so have our way of cooking the beast. It is now all right to leave a little pink in the center of the pork when cooking it. You will not get sick! Please don't cook it to death. It can be so tasty and tender!!
This recipe is from the August issue of Bon Appetit magazine. It worked so well, I didn't change anything!




Pancetta Wrapped Pork Tenderloins



Serves 6


2 nice size pork tenderloins
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
2 Tbsp Herbes de Provence
2 Tbsp olive oil
20 slices of Pancetta


Mix the chopped rosemary, herbes de Provence and olive oil in a small bowl.
Rub the tenderloins with the mixture and wrap the pancetta slices around each one. Tie with kitchen twine.

Heat the grill to high. Place the pork on the grill, reduce the heat to medium. Cook evenly all around to get a nice golden crust, about 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and finish cooking, covered, for another 10 to 15 minutes.


Serve with your choice of starch (potato, rice...) and a sweet sauce such as the Spicy Peach sauce or a plum chutney.





Saturday, September 29, 2012

Berry Crumble

Berries are still plentiful and so delicious! I tried a new recipe...Berry Crumble! It is easy and great with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream... Store bought this time, but home made is definitely better!



Berry Crumble

Serves 10


1 1/2 lb berries (I mixed blueberries, raspberries and strawberries)
2 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp Tequila
2 Tbsp all purpose flour

8 oz butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar



Heat the oven to 350F.


Mix the berries in a bowl with the Tequila and the sugar. Set aside.

Prepare the crumble: In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar and the butter. Work with your fingers until mixture  starts to clump together and all the flour is incorporated.

Butter the bottom and sides of a baking dish. Sprinkle bottom and sides with granulated sugar. Transfer the berries to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the crumble evenly on top.

Bake for about 45 minutes, until top becomes golden and sides start to bubble.


Serve with Vanilla ice cream.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Spicy Peach Sauce

In my last post, I was telling you all about Grilled Duck Breast...and a Spicy Peach Sauce. This sauce is quite versatile and will go very well with chicken, pork or even seafood...scallops or schrimp. Don't hesitate to experiment with these new flavors!



Spicy Peach Sauce


Makes about 3 cups



4 large peaches, ripe, peeled and sliced
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup Tequila (Cuervo Gold)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or more...
A pinch of salt to taste
10 to 15 fresh mint leaves, chopped


Melt the butter in a large saucepan, over medium heat. Add the peaches and let cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 to 15 minutes. When soft, but not mushy, add the tequila, the salt and the cayenne pepper. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
Add the fresh mint and serve warm with the grilled duck.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Grilled Honey Duck Breast

A lot of us love Duck breast, or as we call them in French, Magrets de canard. But...the traditional stove top cooking method leaves the whole house smelling like...duck fat!!!
Grilling the duck allows the skin to become really crusty, without cooking the breast in an inch of fat. And rubbed with honey, served with a peach sauce...Yummm!!!!






Grilled Honey Duck Breast



Serves 4



4 duck breasts
3 Tbsp good quality honey (i used a blueberry honey, very smooth and not overwhelming)
Salt and pepper


Score the skin of the duck breasts, two ways, making a diamond pattern. Do not go too deep as you do not want to reach the meat.

Rub the breasts with the honey, and season with salt and pepper.

Heat the grill on medium, place the duck skin side first and lower the heat to low. Cook for about 3 minutes, open. Turn the duck meat side down and raise the heat back to medium. Cook for another 3 minutes. Pivot the duck to get diamond-shape grill marks, and cook another 2 minutes. Flip one last time to skin side, making again diamond-shape grill marks and cook for another couple of minutes, until the skin gets nicely brown and crispy.

Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.

Slice the breast from the short side and serve with wild rice and a Spicy peach sauce.

Bon Appetit!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Basil Marinade

Basil grew huge this year! We have so much that I had to come up with new ideas for recipes. This one was very good with chicken. Serve with a salad, grilled vegetables or rice and dinner is served!





Basil Marinade



1 bunch fresh basil
4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup white wine
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste


Place  the basil and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until chopped fine. Gradually add the liquid ingredients and pulse until it reaches the consistency of a light marinade.

Pour over the chicken thighs and marinate for at least one hour before grilling.


Peach and Blueberry Tart

Summer has come and is almost gone....and it looks like I took an extended vacation from my blog! I have actually been working a lot since I started my new job at the Mashpee 99 Restaurant. and when I was not there, I was kayaking to the Spit! I did cook a little too, but since I am rarely home for dinner, Bob did most of the cooking!
We just came back from our bi-annual vacation in LBI and I did bake, twice!
Enjoy this summer pie!



Peach and Blueberry Tart


Serves 8


1 recipe sugar crust
1 egg white

5 peaches, ripe, peeled and sliced
6 oz fresh blueberries
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp tequila (Cuervo Gold)



Preheat the oven to 350F.

Line a buttered and floured pie dish with the crust. Refrigerate for about one hour.

Beat the egg white until foamy and apply with a brush to the bottom and sides of the crust. This will prevent the crust to get soggy.


In a large bowl, mix the peaches, blueberries, brown sugar, flour and tequila until blended.
Transfer to the prepared crust and bake for about one hour, until golden and bubbly. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Bon appetit!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tomato and Peppers Gazpacho

It has been so far a hot hot hot summer!!!! Well... here in the US at least!!! In Paris however... the weather calls for hot Chicken Soup!!
For us... a nice refreshing Tomato Soup! All fresh ingredients, fresh taste with a bit of heat from roasted Poblano peppers!
Oh...and it is better to make it the day before you plan on serving it...






Gazpacho




Serves 8



15 ripe tomatoes
2 cucumbers, peeled
4 red bell peppers
2 or 3 Poblano peppers (or any other hot pepper...your choice!)
4 garlic cloves
Fresh herbs (either basil, mint or cilantro...It's all up to you!!!)
Salt and pepper to taste

Sour cream or creme fraiche


Bring a pot of water to a soft boil. Cut an "X" at the bottom of each tomato and dip in the boiling water for about a minute. Remove from water and peel and core. (Blanching the tomatoes makes it easier to peel).
Cut the peeled tomatoes in quarters and puree in a food processor. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
Cut and puree the peeled cucumber and add to the tomatoes. Set aside.

Grill the bell peppers and the Poblanos until almost charred. Peel and remove the seeds. Place in food processor with the garlic. Pulse until pureed. Add to the tomatoes and mix.

Wash, dry and chop the fresh herbs and add to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate over night.

Serve with a dollop of cream and a crusty bread!


Notes:

You should add the pureed hot pepper gradually according to your tolerance to heat!




Friday, June 29, 2012

Mini Ratatouille Tartes

Everybody loves a good Ratatouille! And everyone definitely loves tartes! Both together.....Delicious! This recipe is basically the same one I have always used, but the vegetables are diced instead of simply sliced. And I added goat cheese and black olives!






Mini Ratatouille Tartes


Makes 12


One recipe Whole Wheat Pie Crust

1 red bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 Vidalia onion, diced
3 small zucchini, diced
1 small eggplant, diced
3 plum tomatoes, diced
6 garlic cloves, chopped very finely
Fresh herbs, such as Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary...chopped




One container crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup chopped black olives


Salt and pepper 









Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan and add the onion. Cook on medium low heat, for about 10 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add more oil to the pan and add the peppers. Cook until soft and slightly colored. Add a pinch of fresh herbs and some garlic and salt and pepper to taste. When cooked, transfer to the bowl.

Repeat with the zucchini.

Add more oil to the pan and add the eggplants. cook for a few minutes, adding more oil if necessary (eggplant do absorb a lot of oil). Add the plum tomatoes and cook until eggplants are tender, lightly brown and the tomatoes have cooked. The juices in the pan should not be watery, but a bit thick. Add the seasoning and then return the previously cooked vegetables to the pan. Toss all vegetables together and adjust seasoning if necessary. 




Roll out the crust and cut 12 disks, about 1/4-inch thick. Place on a lined sheet pan and bake at 350F for about 15 minutes, until it starts to get some color. Poke holes with a fork to avoid bubbles. 


When done, remove from the oven and let cool.


Place about 1/3 cup of ratatouille on top of the crust, top with crumbled goat cheese and black olives and return to the 350F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cheese has somewhat melted and tartes are hot.

Serve with a nice cool Rose wine!!!


Dark Chocolate Mousse

I know I already have a recipe for Chocolate Mousse on this blog. But this one is quite different, a bit more subtle in taste. It also requires more time to make...but the result is ...delicious! Oh! and it is inspired by Cyril Lignac, a talented young French chef.




Dark Chocolate Mousse



Serves 8




300 g bittersweet chocolate
400 g heavy cream
30 g sugar
3 Tbsp water
4 egg yolks


Beat the heavy cream until stiff peak form. Refrigerate.

Mix together the water and sugar in a small sauce pan and heat slowly on low heat until the sugar has melted. Set aside.

Whisk the egg yolks until pale yellow and light, with an electric mixer. Slowly add the hot syrup, still whisking. Keep whisking until the mixture increases in volume and cools off.

Melt the chocolate on top a double broiler. Still with the electric mixer, incorporate the melted chocolate to the egg mixture. When well mixed in, add the whipped cream with a rubber spatula.

Divide the mousse into glasses, or transfer to a large serving bowl and refrigerate.

Serve topped with whipped cream or simply as is!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Raspberry Financier

We celebrated Julie's graduation from Sturgis Charter Public School on June 3. As any celebration at the Steven's, there was family, friends and a lot of food involved!
I made the traditional Piece Montee, of course, as well as some new desserts. The Raspberry Financier was a new recipe for me and a successful one! Fresh raspberries and almond cake go so well together!


Financier aux Framboises


serves 12

1 lb fresh raspberries (500 g)
7 oz butter (200g)
8 large egg whites
8 oz confectioner sugar (225 g)
6 oz almond flour (170 g)
4 oz flour (110 g)



Preheat the oven to 340F.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, on low heat, until it becomes golden and gives out a hazelnut aroma. Do not burn it!

Whisk the egg whites slightly, until they begin to foam.

In a larger bowl, mix together the almond flour, all purpose flour and confectioner sugar. Add the egg whites to the bowl, whisking the batter as you pour. Add the melted butter and mix.

Pour the batter in a buttered and floured rectangular baking dish. Sprinkle the raspberries on top, pushing them slightly into the batter.

Bake for about 35 minutes, until golden.

Let cool and dust with confectioner sugar before serving.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Herb Salsa Verde

I always thought that flank steak had to be marinated...I was wrong! I found a recipe in my last issue of Bon Appetit magazine of Flank Steak with herb Salsa Verde that seemed really good. So I tried it, with a few modification and all three kids said it was the best steak ever!!! Time to share the recipe!!!


Herb Salsa Verde


Makes about 1 1/2 cups


5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup fresh tarragon
1/2 cup fresh mint
1/2 cup fresh basil
1 cup fresh parsley
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


In a medium bowl, stir together half the olive oil, lemon zest and garlic. Set aside.

Chop the fresh herb coarsely and add to the bowl. Let marinate for about 10 to 15 minutes, then add the remaining oil.

Season with salt and pepper.


Grill the flank steak: Take the steak out of the fridge about 30 minutes before grilling. Pound both sides with the small spike side of a meat pounder. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat the grill. When really hot, cook the steak on high heat, both sides, without covering.

When cooked, let stand 5 minutes to allow juices to settle. lice across the grain and serve with a wedge of lemon!

This sauce is also delicious with fish or chicken...

And I used leftovers for a pesto: Transfer to food processor and add nuts (I only had Hazelnuts that day!) and Parmesan cheese...Adjust the olive oil and serve over pasta!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sauteed Scallops

Summer does not mean you have to grill absolutely everything! And on a rainy night, this scallop recipe is great and easy. The leeks give it a fell of comfort food, lite version!


Sauteed Scallops with leeks


Serves 6


30 sea scallops (5 each)
3 leeks, clean and sliced thin
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp olive oil


Saute the leeks in a hot pan with 1Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil, until soft, but not brown.

In the same skillet, heat again 1 Tbsp each of butter and olive oil. Add the scallops, without crowding the pan. Repeat with as many batches as needed. Cook on each side until golden, no more that a few minutes.

Plate: place some leeks on each plate, top with the sauteed scallops and sprinkle with the butter sauce that is left in the pan. Add a side of Jasmine rice

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Summer Berries Pavlova

I do not have a lot of time to cook anymore...Driving to and from Pembroke with bridge construction is taking a big chunk out of my free time!!! But since I was off on Mother's Day, I tried something that intrigued me...the Pavlova!  Perfect to serve with seasonal berries and a scrumptious whipped cream!




Summer Berries Pavlova



Serves 8



Meringue:
1 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp distilled white vinegar
6 large egg whites, at room temperature

1 pint fresh strawberries
12 oz fresh raspberries
6 oz fresh blueberries
1/4 cup sugar

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream



Preheat the oven to 250F.

Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. It should be big enough for 3 disks of meringue.

In a food processor, pulse the superfine sugar, the brown sugar and the cornstarch together until well combined.

Stir the vanilla and distilled white vinegar together in a small bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with the whisk, beat the egg whites at medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugars one tablespoon at a time, increasing the speed to medium-high.

When all the sugar has been added, beat for another minute at high speed until glossy. Add the vanilla/vinegar mixture and beat for another 5 minutes, until stiff peaks hold.

Transfer to prepared sheet pans, making 3 disks of the same size, roughly 8 to 9 inches in diameter.

Bake for about 1 hour. The crust should be crisp and feel dry to the touch. Turn the oven off and let cool inside the oven, keeping the door slightly open with the handle of a wooden spoon.


While the meringue is cooling, wash and quarter the strawberries. place in a medium bowl, add the washed blueberries. Sprinkle with sugar and let stand at room temperature until ready to assemble (see note).


Whip the cold heavy cream with the sour cream in the bowl of an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Do not over beat or it will turn.


Assemble:
Place one of the meringue disks on a serving dish. Spread one third of the whipping cream on top, and one third of the fruits. Place second disk on top of the fruit and repeat. Finish with a layer of fruits and add the raspberries.




Notes:

This dessert is a last minute assembly!!!!!  If you assemble the meringue, whipped cream and fruits ahead of time, the meringue will become soggy.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Coconut Cream Pie


You will love this summer dessert! A nice balance of coconut, vanilla and a bit of rum...Pina Colada for dessert!!





Coconut Cream Pie


Serves 8


Sugar crust


3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
4 1/2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 1/4 cups coconut milk (you can use regular milk instead too)
2 1/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup Malibu or Captain Morgan Parrot Bay coconut rum


1 1/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp sugar


2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut




Prepare the filling:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, whisk together the sugar, eggs, egg yolks and flour until thick and increased in volume.

In a saucepan, bring the coconut milk and coconut to a simmer over medium heat.

Off the heat, add the hot coconut milk to the egg mixture, gradually, whisking constantly. Return to the saucepan and cook until cream has thickened and starts to boil., about 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat, add the vanilla extract and let cool, stirring occasionally. To accelerate cooling process, I transfer the cream to a bowl set over iced water.


Meanwhile, bake the crust: butter and flour a 11-inch pie dish (I use a metal pan with removable bottom). Transfer the crust to the dish, line the crust with a disk of parchment paper and top with a light smaller pie dish. (you can also use dry beans). Bake until golden. You can remove the top dish a couple of minutes before the end of the baking time to finish cooking. When done, let cool completely before filling.

When the coconut pastry cream is completely cooled, add the rum and mix. Pour the cream on the cooled crust, cover tightly with plastic wrap to avoid a skin to form on the cream and refrigerate overnight, to allow coconut cream to set.


Prepare the topping:
In a small pan, toast the coconut flakes until golden brown, stirring often. The sugar in the coconut tends to burn fast. Set aside to cool.

Beat the heavy cream and the sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread over the coconut filling.
Sprinkle the toasted coconut on top of the whipped cream, remove from the pan and serve!

Bon appetit!



Note:
I have also used half regular milk and half coconut milk. I do like all coconut, but for some, it might be too strong so don't hesitate to "cut" the coconut milk.


Monday, April 30, 2012

Ratatouille

Nothing says Provence like "Ratatouille". And I do not meant the cute little rat from Disney! No...The dish, full of juicy, ripe, delicious and sunny vegetables. This can be made ahead and is as good hot as it is at room temperature or cold.



Ratatouille


Serves 8


1 medium onion, sliced
2 red bell peppers, sliced
1 orange bell pepper, sliced
5 small to medium sized zucchini, sliced
2 small eggplants, sliced
6 plum tomatoes, cored and quartered
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Herbes de Provence

Olive oil
Salt and pepper


Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan and add the onion. Cook for about 10 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add more oil to the pan and add the peppers. Cook until soft and slightly colored. Add a pinch of Herbes de Provence and some garlic and salt and pepper to taste. When cooked, transfer to the bowl.

Repeat with the zucchini.


Add more oil to the pan and add the eggplants. cook for a few minutes, adding more oil if necessary (eggplant do absorb a lot of oil). Add the plum tomatoes and cook until eggplants are tender, lightly brown and the tomatoes have cooked. The juices in the pan should not be watery, but a bit thick. Add the seasoning and then return the previously cooked vegetables to the pan. Toss all vegetables together and adjust seasoning if necessary. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lemon Trifle

End of week two of Manager Training at the 99 Restaurant...and off for Easter! Just the five of us for Easter dinner and of course a roasted leg of lamb with a mint sauce. And dessert??? That... I had not managed, as of Sunday morning, to make a decision. Chocolate? Berries? Ideas???!!!
Well...As it turned out I made a Lemon Trifle, with fresh strawberries.



Lemon Trifle



Serves 10


1 doubled recipe for Lemon Curd

2 cups of water
1/2 cup sugar
Juice of 3 lemons
1/4 cup vodka (Had I had Lemoncello, I would have used that, but vodka works well)


3 cups heavy cream
3 Tbsp superfine sugar


2 pints fresh strawberries

30 Lady Finger cookies



Prepare the lemon curd and cool in an ice bath. Set aside.

Prepare the lemon syrup:
In a small saucepan, mix together the water and sugar. Bring to a boil and let reduce for about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice and vodka. Set aside to cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Gradually add the superfine sugar and keep whipping until stiff peaks form.

Gradually add the whipped cream to the cold lemon curd, incorporating delicately with a rubber spatula, until well blended.

Prepare the strawberries: 
Wash and dry.
Slice about 20 strawberries lengthwise and dice about another 10 to 15.


Line the bottom of a trifle dish with the Lady Finger cookies dipped in the lemon syrup.
Cover with a layer of lemon cream (about 1/3 of the cream) and dot with half the diced berries.
Place another layer of dipped cookies.
Line the sides of the dish with the sliced strawberries, one row only. Pour another layer of lemon cream  (another 1/3 of cream) and diced strawberries.
Cover again with dipped cookies and finish with the cream and diced berries. Finish with a decorative layer of sliced strawberries.
Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

When you are finished dipping the cookies in the syrup, replace the pan on the stove, medium-low heat, and let the syrup reduce even more, until thickened and shiny.

As soon as the syrup has cooled enough, brush it on top of the strawberries slices and replace the trifle in the fridge.

Bon appetit!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Chocolate and Pear Charlotte

I invested last summer in a baking ring to make Charlottes like the pros! And I finally decided to use it! It did scare me a little but as it happens... It is really easy. And you can make any size dessert you want!

I am a chocolate fanatic... so it totally made sense that I make a chocolate dessert to celebrate my birthday!
This particular Charlotte should be started the day before, or at leats in the morning for an evening event as you want the chocolate mousse to harden before adding the chocolate sauce and the poached pears.





Chocolate and Pear Charlotte



Serves 10



One recipe Chocolate Mousse

60 Lady Fingers cookies
1 1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Kahlua liquor (optional)

4 or 5 ripe (but firm) pears - I used Red Anjou and Bosc
2 cups water
3/4 cups sugar
1 Tbsp cardamom

50g (1.8 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
100g (3.6 oz) sugar
5 Tbsp heavy cream

Chocolate shavings



First prepare the chocolate mousse. Set aside.

Peel and core 2 pears and dice them into 1/2-in cubes.
Add the diced pears to the chocolate mousse, incorporating them delicately with a rubber spatula.
Refrigerate.

Prepare  the syrup:
In a small saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Cook for a few minutes until all the sugar has dissolved. Add the liquor and set aside.

Line a half sheet pan with either parchment paper or a silicone mat. Spray liner with baking spray. Place the baking ring on top of the liner.

Dip the Lady Fingers in the Kahlua syrup - one at a time - and line the sides and bottom of the baking ring.
Pour the chocolate and pear mousse inside the prepared baking ring and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.


Poach the pears:
Cut a circle of parchment paper the size of the saucepan you will use to poach the pears. Cut a small circle off the middle of it. Set aside.
Bring the water, sugar and cardamom to a simmer.
Peel and core the remaining two or 3 pears. Slice them into 1/4-in slices.
Add the pear slices to the cardamom syrup. Place the parchment paper circle on top of the pears. This will prevent the pears on the top to be out of the liquid and brown.
Poach the pears for about 10 to 12 minutes, until tender.
Remove the pears from the poaching liquid and set to cool in a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, on one layer.

Make the chocolate sauce:
In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup of water, the sugar and the cocoa powder to a soft boil. Whisk occasionally to avoid lumps.
In another small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil and add the the chocolate sauce. Bring to a boil again, whisking, and remove from the heat. Let cool.

When the sauce is completely cold, pour on top of the chocolate mousse. Refrigerate for at least one hour to allow the sauce to solidify. If you place the pears on top right away they will sink in.

When the sauce has hardened enough, place the slices of pear decoratively on top. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings (optional).

Serve:
Transfer the Charlotte - still in the ring - from the liner to the serving platter. Remove the ring and enjoy!


Bon Appetit!



Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lemon Meringue Pie

We celebrated Isabelle's birthday last Wednesday, as well as her twin brother's, Marc. We were all there, except for a few hard workers that could not make it!!!
In place of a birthday cake, I made a birthday Lemon Meringue Pie!!! Nicole's favorite, and it had been a really long time since I had made one!
One advantage, since it was a week night, and I had just started my new job and knew I would have had no time Wednesday to bake, I started making the different elements on Sunday! The crust was made Sunday and baked Tuesday night. The lemon curd was prepared on Monday night and the pie assembled on Wednesday when I got back from work. I just had to make the meringue, pipe it on the lemon curd and bring the torch with me for last minute browning!!! Et voila!!!



Lemon Meringue Pie



serves 8


One Sugar Crust (recipe makes 2 crusts; freeze other half for another use)
One recipe Lemon Curd

5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar


Preheat the oven to 350F.
Butter and flour a pie pan with a removable bottom.

Roll the sugar crust and line the prepared pan. With a fork, poke holes on the bottom of the pan to prevent bubbling during baking. Place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
Bake until golden brown, checking for air bubbles - poke with the fork if they form - about 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Meanwhile prepare the lemon curd according to recipe.

Prepare the meringue:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until foamy. Slowly add the sugar and keep beating until stiff peaks form.

Assemble the pie:
Pour the lemon curd in the prepared crust.
Top with the meringue: You may either pipe it on top of the curd in a decorative fashion, or simply spoon it over delicately with a rubber spatula.

To brow the meringue, just before serving, I choose the sale torch I use for the Creme Brulee. If you do not have a torch, you can brow it under the broiler, for just a few minutes.

Bon appetit!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Orange marinade

This marinade is quick to make and perfect for chicken or pork on the grill!

2 cups orange juice
2 2-inch pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and grated with a microplane
5 cloves garlic, grated (again I used a microplane)
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp hot sauce, here Cholula chipotle
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Mix all the ingredients together and pour over the meat, or fish. Let marinate for at least two hours and grill, pouring the marinade on the pieces of chicken, or pork...  during cooking.

Enjoy!

Lamb Stew

I love stews, whether beef, veal, lamb or fish. Last night we had a Provencal Lamb Stew, with hints of orange. It was really tasty and the whole family enjoyed it!
I served it with small tomato bow-tie pasta. and beware... you have to marinate the lamb overnight and, for the meat to be tender and melt in your mouth,  it cooks a really long time!!!




Lamb Stew


Serves 6


4 Lbs lamb shoulder cut into 2 inch cubes

Marinade:
2 small onions, diced
3 sticks celery, diced
4 carrots, diced
1/2 cup parsley
5 garlic cloves, minced
5 twigs of fresh thyme
4 bay leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups red wine

1/2 lb pancetta, diced
1 onion, diced
1 orange, zest (stripes really) and juice
3 garlic cloves, whole with skin on
1 cube chicken bouillon
water

2 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup water



Prepare the marinade THE DAY BEFORE!
Mix all the ingredients from the marinade in a large bowl.
Divide the meat in two parts and transfer to two zip-loc bags. Pour half the marinade in each and toss, making sure all the pieces of meat are covered.
Refrigerate over night.

The next morning:
Drain the meat and set the marinade aside.

Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large saute pan, or dutch oven. Add the onion and saute until lightly brown and translucent. Add the pancetta and cook until becoming crisp. Do not burn!! Remove from the pan and set aside. De-glaze the pan with 1/4 cup red wine if necessary.

Heat 2 more Tbsp olive oil in the same dutch oven and add half the lamb. Cook quickly until brown on all sides. Set aside and repeat with the remaining meat.

When the second half of the meat is nicely browned, add the first batch, the pancetta and onions. Sprinkle the chicken bouillon cube on top. Add the stripes of orange zest, the garlic and the marinade. Add the juice of the orange.
Mix well. At this point you may decide to add about another cup of wine. Add water to almost cover the meat. Stir again to mix the flavors.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to really low and cover. Cook for about 6 to 7 hours to get the meat nice and tender, stirring occasionally.

About an hour before the end of cooking time, you can add a mixture of flour and water to thicken the sauce a bit.


Serve with boiled potatoes or pasta! And a nice glass of red wine!



Thursday, March 8, 2012

Raclette



With Spring fast approaching, now is the time to have a Raclette...This dish originated in the Alps, where winters are cold and long. The original Raclette is actually a half wheel of Raclette cheese, a smelly but mild cow milk cheese,  that is melted in front of the fire, then "raclĂ©" (scraped) on a plate filled with potatoes and cured meats.
Nowadays, you can make a Raclette with a lot less fuss, but you will need an electrical Raclette grill. They come in all different prices, but you do not have to spend a fortune. I found mine at Homegoods for less than $50.
The cheese is harder to find. As usual, Trader Joe's is the place to go!! If you really cannot find the Raclette cheese, you can substitute with Gruyere, Comte or even Swiss cheese.


Raclette



serves 8



8oz Raclette cheese per person, cut into 1/8-in slices, rind on
3 lb potatoes
Assorted cured meats: Salami. Prosciutto, Parma
Some regular ham...
Mushrooms
Cornichons (or Gherkins) and pickled onions


Boil the potatoes, skin on.

Set the table with the grill, the meats, mushrooms, cheese, cornichons...and the potatoes once they are cooked.

Each guest should take a little of everything on their plate. They must then place a slice of cheese in the small pan and place it under the grill (according to machine instructions) and wait until it has melted. Meanwhile you can place some mushrooms on top of the grill to cook.

Once the cheese is melted, pour over the potatoes and mushroom and enjoy!!!



Monday, March 5, 2012

Lobster

I can hardly believe that we have been living in New England for almost 12 years and I have never posted our lobster dinners!!!
Here on the Cape, as in all coastal New England States, lobster is a big deal. You can have it any way you want. Every restaurant, big or small, claims to have the best Lobsta Roll!
We buy our lobsters in Sandwich, at Joe's Lobster Mart, where Cape Cod Canal meets the bay. Seafood there is the absolute freshest and you can see the boats unloading at the back of the store. A bit out of the way for us but really worth it!
At our house, however, "lobsta" is steamed and served with melted butter and a wedge of lemon, for some! Wicked delicious!!!!





Steamed Lobster


Serves 4


4 lobsters (we usually get the 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 lb beasts!)
3 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
6 Tbsp butter
One lemon (optional)

Tools needed:
* Large claw crackers, or nut crackers
* Skinny picks to get the meat out of the legs
* Patience!!!



In a very large pot (we have a 18-qt "lobster pot"), boil about 3 quarts of water. Add the Old bay seasoning.

Add the live lobsters, head down and cover. Still on high heat, cook the lobsters for about 10 to 15 minutes. The shell should turn a bright red/orange. When done, transfer to a serving platter, or serving bowl. This dish will be used for discarded shells.

While the lobsters are cooking, melt the butter and divide in four small bowls, for dipping.





You are now ready to dig in!!! Bon Appetit!